I think every artist has a favored character, painting, role, or whatever it is that they make. This could be the first character you ever made or the most successful. For me, there are four characters that I always gravitate toward when I’m dreaming or thinking. I call them ‘The Four’ and Luke Callindor is one of them. He is the true hero that embodies courage and all those good things that people expect from the good guy. He is my Spider-Man if you want to compare him to another hero. The other members of the four have similar origins, but they aren’t the true blue hero that Luke is, so here are the other loud voices in my head.
A few weeks after I created Luke, I joined a game called Vampire: The Masquerade, which was being run by Dave (aka Nimby). So, we played a one-on-one session to give him a taste of running a game and me a taste of playing the game. I had played Vampire before, but always picked the artistic vampire who was slaughtered within two sessions. This time I was a thief named Clyde . . . let’s just say that the session ended with Dave explaining to me how humanity works and that if I EVER did that much destruction again, he would make Clyde a rampaging beast. When I stepped into Clyde’s shoes, I was an unstoppable, merciless source of destruction. He carried a small arsenal, but one of his biggest claims to fame is killing someone with an ear of corn. Things became even worse when everyone switched to playing mages, but I was allowed to stay with Clyde, so he was turned into a day-walker. The downside to this was that EVERYTHING was after him. Vampires wanted his blood to become daywalkers, Werewolves wanted him because they thought he stole a relic, the government wanted him for experiments, mages wanted him because he was walking proof of magic, and then there were the people Clyde actually pissed off. This caused him to become more of a warrior and he decided to hunt his hunters. It was the last step toward the incarnation of destruction that he presently is. Honestly, you know something is bad when a bunch of enemies see a vampire at the top of the stairs and decided that the rampaging pair of burly werewolves is the ‘safer’ option. To put it simply, Clyde evolved into a brutal monster that was the polar opposite of Luke Callindor.
In my mind, Clyde is the arrogant confidence that will stop at nothing to get what he wants. He is destructive, cruel, and prone to leave piles of bodies in his wake. The only reason he’s going to be the ‘hero’ of his series is because the ‘villain’ is trying to enslave the world and Clyde only wants his people (the daywalkers) to live without being disturbed. He changed from being true violence and death to a benevolent dictator who is still prone to moments of being extremely violent. This series is not going to be pretty and will have blood, gore, and Clyde will be reveling in the middle of it. The question will be not if he can be defeated, but if he will ever lose his mind and try to destroy the world.
A Clyde side note: There were a few days where I played Luke in the morning and Clyde at night or vice-versa. This typically resulted in Clyde being nicer, which never upset anyone. On the other end of the spectrum, it could also result in Luke being a bastard, which resulted in a few time outs for me.
Jumping from the heroism of Luke and the fury of Clyde, I joined another fantasy game with the goal of playing a character I never had before. I was always the warrior, so I wanted to try my hand at magic and being short. Enter Morpheus *scolded by gamemaster* . . . I mean, Darwin Slepsnor the halfling sorcerer. I took an interest in the sleep spell and ran with the idea of sleep magic until the very end of the game. There is only one sleep spell in the game, so I had to create my own spells, which was an added challenge that I enjoyed. Now, the thing about Darwin is that he isn’t the heroic type, but the comic relief. We had to pick a low stat when we created our characters, so I gave Darwin the wisdom of a toddler. He rarely understood what was going on, jumped to odd conclusions, and played with every cursed item we ran into. It was an amazing amount of fun to play a character with no focus, no common sense, and a child-like quality (though, it can be argued that he was simply dumb). I remember my time as Darwin very fondly and he shows up in my dreams whenever I’m in a giddy mood. I was kind of sad when I had to retire him because Luke’s game had dissolved and Clyde was deemed to powerful for me to use any more. Darwin was the last of my favorite characters to play and I really do miss playing the little goofball.
All that being said, giving Darwin his own series has been incredibly difficult. He is suited more for sidekick status than full hero because he isn’t really driven like a hero. Luke had courage and a desire to save the world, Clyde had rage and a vengeance to drive him on, and the fourth member had a woman and destiny. Darwin could be distracted from an epic quest by a field of fireflies, which is a quality that I refused to remove from him. Darwin not acting like a goof isn’t Darwin. In fact, I didn’t have to change much of Darwin from the game for some reason. I don’t want to say that I fit into Darwin better than Luke and Clyde, but it might be that I truly wish I could live my life like Darwin. So, most of his series involves him helping various ‘heroes’ while his personal quest goes on around him without him realizing it. Did I mention Darwin had a habit of being oblivious? Destiny be damned, Darwin would wander off to do what he wanted because he didn’t know any other way. To this end, Gabriel despises Darwin because the little guy simply won’t follow the master plan of destiny.
This guy is the odd man out here because he started as a book character that I made in high school and flushed out in college. I created him after playing Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past for an entire month. So, he has a lot of Link elements, but the only thing he kept is the pixie friend. The boomerang and green clothing are long gone. Now, Sin is a cunning thief with a crossbow, no parents, and an odd ability to resist all magic. Only the crossbow and no parents moved with him to the game that I tried to play him in. Playing an arrogant, teenage thief doesn’t really work in certain groups and I was becoming depressed in real-life. So, game Sin devolved into a horrible mess of angst, anger, frustration, and hate. He had been given the power to see images of the past and promptly learned that he could kill people by stabbing these images. I’m pretty sure Sin would have gone evil if the game continued, but at that point, I no longer considered him the real Sin. He was a shadow that had gotten away from the original and needed to be left in the past.
The real Sin returned to me when I settled down and he came back stronger than before. He was more confident and had a sharper mind that allowed him to get out of problems by thinking. His magic crossbow gave him an edge in combat, but it was his ability to think on his feet that makes him dangerous. Luke was quick-witted, but Sin gained the ability to think far ahead of his enemies. Sin is definitely a combination of my confidence and my organizational, in-depth planning mind. His stories are much more intricate than the other stories and follow a Final Fantasy pattern of multiple tiers of villains, new allies every book, and a single book spanning vasts regions of Windemere. I needed the detailed, hidden plans to keep Sin interested or else he’d be done with everything in a few chapters. He is not an easier character to handle because I always have to fight to keep him in the dark. The slightest slip and he’ll know everything, ruining the story and putting me back a chapter or two. Thankfully, Sin will be worked on after Luke, Clyde, and Darwin get their series completed. Sin’s stories span a long period of time and other series happen at the same time as his adventures, so he will be a long work in progress. There will be several times where I have to step away from him and start up another series to clear his way. The benefit is that Sin is an incredibly patient character and is the quietest out of The Four. I rarely hear from him unless I need help planning or go looking for him.
So, these are the major voices in my head. The others all step away when these four decide to voice their opinion. I consider them my mental guardians who keep everyone else in line.